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How to remove gel nails at home

Gel nail polish manicure provides weeks of chip-free wear and a chic, ultra-shiny finish, but removing it is a painstaking process.Because gel nail polish cures under UV light. , which dries to a much harder finish than regular air-drying lacquers. In other words, it cannot be cut with a normal remover.

Gel nail removal is often best left to the professionals, but if you want to take matters into your own hands (oh!), we’ve got you covered. With the right tools and a lot of patience, salon brand gel manicures like Shellac, CND and OPI can be removed from the comfort of your couch in about 30 minutes.We asked Toronto-based salon owner LeeAnn Corrie tips nail barreveals her secrets on how to make gel polish mani last longer and how to remove them without damaging them when the time comes.

How to extend the life of your gel polish manicure

If you’re not ready to part with your gel polish manicure, there are some clever hacks that can extend its life until your next trip to the salon (or until you have everything you need for a safe removal at home). ).

First, don’t pinch the chips or peel off the gel polish. “Our nails are made up of about 50 layers of keratin,” Corrie explains. “Gel polish sticks to the keratin of your nails, and pinching it actually peels off a layer of your nail, causing damage.

To save a chipped mani, Collie suggests filing the nail to smooth the affected area. If the chip is still visible, match the color to any nail polish shade you have at home to cover the spot.

Cory also shares great tips for extending the life of your grown-up gel polish manicure. (She recommends avoiding nail clippers because they can cause tiny cracks in your nail polish.) Then put the forgotten glitter bottle of her nail polish to good use. “Just drop some glitter around the cuticle for a nail art effect and fill in any ingrown areas,” she says.

Are you ready to say goodbye to chipped and overgrown manicures? Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to removing gel nail polish at home without damaging your nails.

Step 1: Collect Tools

The good news is that in most cases, you already have (mostly) what you need to remove gel polish in your makeup stash or kitchen drawer. If not, you can find each item (or ready-made kit) at your local drugstore, or buy them online and have them delivered straight to your door.

To remove gel nails you will need a coarse nail file, paper towels, cotton balls or pads, aluminum foil, acetone polish remover, cuticle pusher (stainless steel or orange wood stick), nail buffer and cuticle oil (or your favorite face polish remover). a few drops of oil).

Before you start, take 10 small squares of paper towels (large enough to cover each nail) and 10 small strips of aluminum foil (to wrap your fingertips to keep the paper towel squares in place). large enough).

nail file, $9, tweezerman.ca

Step 2: File off the glossy top coat

Gently sand the glossy top layer off all 10 nails with a coarse nail file before reaching for the acetone. floats up.

You want to scratch the glossy surface, but not completely remove the underlying polish. “If you start to see nail polish color in your files, you should stop,” Corrie says. If you polish your natural nails, you run the risk of damaging them.

cotton balls, $6, shoppersdrugmart.ca

Step 3: Soak Nails in Acetone Wrap

After you’ve buffed the glossy top coat on all your nails, soak them in acetone nail polish remover. At this stage, it may be tempting to try to speed things up by dipping both hands at the same time, but Colley advises against doing so. “The biggest tip is to be patient,” she says. “Do one hand, finish it, then move on to the other.”

Start by saturating a paper towel, cotton wool, or cotton pad with acetone. Here is much more. “You want it almost drenched,” Corry says.

Then place a paper towel over your nail and wrap it tightly with a square of aluminum foil. “Acetone evaporates, so if the package you wrap around your nail isn’t tight enough, air gets in there and fights the acetone to slow you down,” she continues. She repeats the process for each finger on the hand she’s working on.

Alternatively, you can pour acetone into a bowl and dip your finger directly into it. However, Cory prefers an easy, mess-free wrapping technique.

Perfection Stainless Cuticle Pusher $10 walmart

Step 4: Rub off gel nails

Soak your nails for about 15 minutes, then remove the wrap from one finger. The gel polish should lift and appear to fall off your nail.

Next, use a stainless steel or wooden cuticle pusher to gently scrape the nail polish off your nails, working one finger at a time. If the gel polish doesn’t lift easily, put the foil wrap back on (make sure you have a paper towel, cotton ball, or cotton pad soaked in acetone along your nail) and wait another 5 minutes.

Repeat this process for each nail, then move to the other hand. This is the perfect time to catch up on your latest Netflix obsession or scroll through Instagram without feeling guilty.

The Body Shop Nail Polish Block $6 thebodyshop.com

Step 5: Polish your nails

When each nail is barely polished, use the soft side of the buffing block to smooth out any remaining roughness. to do,” Corry says.

CND SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Oil Pen, $19, shoppersdrugmart.ca

Step 6: Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate

Acetone is notorious for drying both nails and skin. “The next step is to use cuticle oil. [on and around the nails]’ suggests Corry. If you don’t have cuticle oil at home, we recommend using a few drops of coconut oil or your favorite face oil to moisturize the ends.

L’Occitane En Provence Serum-in-Cream Hand Cream, $47, L’Occitane.com

Whether you’re giving your nails a break from polishing or jumping right into a colorful manicure at home, Cory says moisture is the key to strong, healthy nails. As a method, I use cuticle oil every night to create flexibility between my nails and polish,” she continues. “Adding moisture and hydration to your nails and skin is one of the best things you can do.”

First published in 2020. Updated for 2022.

How to remove gel nails at home

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